Are the Avatar rides in Disney’s Animal Kingdom worth the wait?


You’ve booked your tickets, you’re looking at the wait times and you see the Avatar rides are 180 minutes each. Do you wait? I waited six hours to get on both of the Avatar rides… Only one of them is worth any sort of wait time! Which one though?

Non Avatar Rides

I ventured in to the Animal Kingdom in October 2017 and it was my first visit to this Disney park. It was a spur of the moment visit with our 14 day pass so we rocked up with no fast passes (first big mistake). If you’re expecting to see the usual princess castle then you’ll be disappointed but it does have the iconic, and very impressive, Tree of Life. The tree stands at 145ft right in the middle of the park on Discovery Island. There’s actually a 400 seat theatre inside the tree that shows the A Bugs Life 4D film attraction, It’s Tough to be a Bug!

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

My first ride of the day was a massive steel rollercoaster. In 2011 this ride actually made its way in to the World Record books as the most expensive rollercoaster in the world. That ride is Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. As you’ve probably guessed it’s based on a trip through the Himalayas to Mount Everest. The mountain has been claimed by the yeti and the ride features some ‘broken track’ before you’re treated to a wee surprise! This three minute ride also features an 80ft drop. The wait time of around 40 minutes was worth it for this ride. Was it worth all the money Disney spent on it? I’ll let you decide.

The Tree of Life

The entrance with the Tree of Life

Kali River Rapids

After the trip to Everest, we headed to the Kali River Rapids ride, the water ride that soaks every rider! We had to wait around 30 minutes for this one and my poncho came in handy! The ride initially climbs up to around 90ft with some geysers and waterfalls surrounding you at the top. The water starts to gush in to the raft as you go towards a 30ft slide. If you managed to miss most of the water, you won’t after the drop! If you’re sitting backwards going down the slide then you’ll be the worst hit!

Pandora – The World of Avatar

The Avatar world, Pandora section opened in May 2017 after three years of construction. The section really is excellent with the floating mountain range looking spectacular. Have you ever wanted to look like an Avatar? Well there’s a shop here where you can buy your tails and ears! If that’s not your thing then there are also a couple of food options for a quick bite to eat. It’s a bit light on the ride front with only two available though. Especially with one of those two being pretty boring!

Na’vi River Journey

Our first three hour wait of the day was for Na’vi River Journey (second big mistake). Oh my word. I’d have been disappointed if I waited any longer than 15 minutes. It’s a boat ride taking you through the nature of Pandora. Don’t get me wrong, the inside is extremely impressive with some 3D holograms and the really cool fauna. However, it’s no way worth a three hour wait. When we were there the ride did have to undergo maintenance a few times which added to our wait time but it’s just a slow boat ride that lasts just a few minutes.


Pandora looks amazing!

Avatar Flight of Passage

The second three hour wait was for the big one – Avatar Flight of Passage. Maybe it was just our luck but this ride had to undergo maintenance and run a limited service for a while too. The wait was too much for some though which a couple of people leaving with only around 10 minutes to go. If only they’d known! The ride itself was superb! You’re learning to ride on the back of a banshee as you explore the amazing world of Pandora. There’s a giant screen in front of you to immerse yourself in the experience as you get thrown around and feel those usual sudden drops. I’m not 100% sure on the three hour wait but I didn’t feel nearly as let down as after the Na’vi River Journey.

Final Thoughts on the Animal Kingdom Park

We had had enough after the long wait times so we didn’t get to experience some of the other areas of the park that it’s well known for – the animals. They’ve got Kilimanjaro Safaris which takes you a tour of the African animals. There’s also a Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail which has gorillas and chimpanzees among other animals. There’s also a dinosaur area for the younger visitors.

Animal Kingdom wasn’t one of my favourite Disney theme parks with only a couple of attractions really doing it for me but if you’ve got a three day pass and want to try out the Avatar rides then give it a go! Just don’t wait very long for the Na’vi River Journey!

Let me know what you thought of the rides. How long did you wait?

PS – If you love Disney then I’ve posted a review of my time on a Disney Cruise too, check it out!

Are the Avatar rides in Disney’s Animal Kingdom worth the wait?

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  1. December 28, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    Missing Disney right now, so this post was good for my Orlando native heart! Right before we hit the road I was able to go to Pandora. We did the river ride, but thankfully had Fast Passes, otherwise I would agree, definitely not worth a long wait. Beautifully done, but only worth it if you have a Fast Pass. Sadly, we didn’t get to do Flight of Passage, but it gives me something to look forward to once we make it back. Glad to know you found it worth it even with a wait!!

  2. David
    December 30, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Our impromptu visit meant we didn’t have Fast Passes unfortunately! The river ride is really nice but not worth any sort of wait time! You’ll love Flight of Passage when you get a chance to go back!

  3. January 1, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    When I think of Disney I always remember princess and giant animal characters, but this side of it looks stunning. Thanks you for sharing and inspiring me to visit as an adult.

  4. January 1, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    I’m glad you had a good time there. I’ve been to Disney twice when my daughter was still little and we rather did the castle-cinderella-mickey-etc part which was fun. So now I’m waiting to have grand kids one day to explore some more of Disney’s. Never been to Animal Kingdom, though.

  5. January 1, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    Havent done Disney yet but good to know as I probably go there when I take my young daughter there one day. I make sure I take a bank loan 😀

  6. January 2, 2018 / 11:24 am

    We are yet to visit DisneyWorld! Been to a few Disneylands, but never experienced the Avatar ride!. Sounds great though. 🙂

  7. January 2, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    Ive never been in any Disney parks before so I dont even know how to image it but for what I am reading here seems like its pretty cool besides the long lines. Sorry to hear that u didn’t enjoy the first ride but at least you liked the other one. I would love to visit that place one day!

  8. January 4, 2018 / 9:36 am

    We’ve seen Avatar, and the awesome CG landscape of Pandora blew us away. We’ve read somewhere that that many movie watchers actually felt depressed (and some to the point of suicidal) after seeing Avatar. They want to live in Pandora, but it does not exist. Well, we hope that this ride will give them a bit of satisfaction.

  9. January 7, 2018 / 7:04 am

    very insightful information. We all want to maximize our times in Disneyland and also experience the best rides, including the popular avatar rides. But waiting in queues for the rides is a real time killer, So, either we have to take two or three days pass or allocate our time wisely to rides that we surely don’t want to miss if we have only one day at hand.

  10. Tales of travelling sisters
    January 7, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    I never knew there was part of the Disney Park dedicated for Avatar. It’s really irritating to wait in queues for endless hours in theme parks and come across some really disappointing rides. Glad you could enjoy the your Flight of Passage ride.

  11. January 7, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    never been in disney parks so i cannot give a final solution or opinion. probably the first time i will be too excited and i won’t realize the waiting time….maybe. don’t know!!

  12. January 8, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Long waits kill the enthusiasm for rides and I can understand the feeling. We were at Disney, Hong Kong last year and the crowds were massive and had to let go a number of rides owing to the wait time. The Avatar rides do sound fascinating but I am intrigued by the Everest expedition and would love to try that one out first.

  13. April 22, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    I’ve only been to the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and for one ride we were waiting 2 h and I thought it was way too much! 6 hours?! I would go crazy lol the avatar rides sound like an interesting experience anyway!

    • David
      April 22, 2018 / 10:14 pm

      Haha I’ll be honest I was going crazy! It didn’t feel like 6 hours at least but I won’t be doing that again!